Crabbing can be a fun family activity to plan with your kids while vacationing on Folly Beach and getting started is easy. You just need some line, a net, bait and a bucket or cooler for your catch. In South Carolina, you are most likely to haul in blue crabs, known for their namesake blue-hued claws and sweet meat.
Supplies You’ll Need: For the most basic crabbing experience, all you need is several yards of strong line (nylon string or fishing line), a crab dip net on a two to three-foot pole, bucket and/or cooler and bait-raw chicken necks are tough and cheap and crabs love chicken. Fish heads are another option. There are also a number of different types of drop nets you can use, but a hand line and dip net is the most inexpensive way to go crabbing.
Location. Location. Location. As in real estate, location is key when it comes to successful crabbing. Posting up in shallower waters along tidal creeks, particularly from a dock or pier, is the recommended way to go, but you can also crab from a creek bank.
Timing is everything. The peak times for crabbing are a couple hours before high tide all the way through one to two hours after high tide. You can view a weekly tide chart for Folly Beach on our Home page. Crabs can be caught all year, but are typically more difficult to catch during colder weather when the water temperature drops and they become inactive.
Once you have acquired your supplies and chosen a perfect spot you are ready to crab. Follow the simple steps below and you’ll be hitting the crab pot jackpot in no time.
1. For hand lines or drop lines, it’s best to secure it with a weight. Tie a piece of chicken at one end. Tie the other end of the line without the weight to something secure, such as a pylon if you’re crabbing from a dock.
2. Put the bait on the hook and throw it out into the water or let it drop off the side of the dock down to the creek bottom.
3. Once you see the line begin to move or feel a tug on the line, slowly and carefully pull in the line.
4. If you catch a crab, once the line is close enough, preferably one to two feet underwater, then you can lower in the dip net behind it to scoop up the crab and place it in your bucket. Make sure you snag them before they get above the waterline or they will likely release their hold on the chicken and escape. (Remember to handle crabs carefully. Crab’s claws are dangerous and they can really hurt, so if you have to pick one up you are best advised to approach them from the rear).
5. Finally, measure your catch to see if you can add this one to your crab pot dinner. In South Carolina there is a five-inch minimum carapace size requirement on crab (width from point to point) to keep them and females with egg sacs must be released back into the water.
A recreational fishing license is not required as long as you are using three or fewer hand lines or drop nets. There are no limits on quantity in state waters. For more information on crabbing regulations visit dnr.sc.gov.